History of Hockey

Topics: Ice hockey, Stanley Cup, National Hockey League Pages: 7 (2727 words) Published: April 23, 2000
For more than a century, hockey historians have found that precisely tracing the sports origin is not only a difficult task but, a virtual impossibility. Therefore I can only try to deduce for myself, from the records, claims, and accounts, which are available to me, when, where, and by whom the first ice hockey was played. I'll also discuss the early problems and obstacles that the NHL encountered. Plus I will also tell a little bit about early equipment, along with early game play and ice conditions that players encountered. Lastly, the Stanley Cup, which is the most prized and oldest sports award of the NHL. It has been won many times, by many different teams. Ice hockey is traceable to games played on fields as far back as nearly 2500 years ago. In 478 BC, a Greek soldier, Hemostocoles, built a wall in Athens which contained a sculpture scene portraying two athletes in a faceoff-like stance holding sticks similar to those later used in field hockey. (Hubbard & Fischler, page17) Perhaps native Americans were the first to play hockey like games. The Indians of Canada invented the field game lacrosse, which is known by the legislative act as Canada's and national sport. The Alogonquins who inhabited the shores the St. Lawrence River played an ice game that was similar to lacrosse called "baggataway," played without skates and with an unlimited number of participants. French explorers who visited the St. Lawrence River area and northern areas of United States in the 1700's witnessed these matches. (Hubbard & Fischler, page17) According to the dictionary of language of Micmacs Indians, published in 1888, the Micmacs of eastern Canada played an ice game called "oochamkunutk," which was played with a bat or stick. Another ice game played by the Micmacs was "alchamadijik," which was referred to in legends of the Micmacs, issued in 1894. (Hubbard & Fischler, page18-19) Early hockey-like games that came from across the Atlantic include the Field game Hurley from Ireland, field hockey from England, and the ice games English bandy and Kolven from Holland. Hurley is a ground game that is still popular in Ireland. It was originally played by an unlimited number of players representing one parish against another. A flat field hockey-like stick and a large ball were used. Irish immigrants, who came to work on the Shubenacadie Canal near Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, in 1831, brought Hurley to Canada. Some believe that oochamkunutk is Hurley on ice. (Dolan page 21-26) Field hockey was played in 1870 in England, as well as Egypt and India. Although the rules for field hockey play a major role in the early evolution of ice hockey in Canada. But most students of the game doubt that field hockey was the forerunner of ice hockey, for the reason that both sports started around the same time. Despite its overwhelming popularity as primarily a woman's sport in North America, field hockey didn't arrive in America until 1901, (when Miss Constance Applebee of England arrived at Harvard summer school and organized a game with the group of students and teachers. (Dolan page 29-31) The English played a game called Bandy, which is a hockey-like game, who have been playing it as far back as the late 18th century and it is still played today in Russia, Sweden, Norway, Finland, and the United States (Minnesota). Many of the stars of the early Soviet hockey teams had been Bandy players. It is played on a large sheet of ice with short sticks, a ball and large goals. The Dutch, long known for their ice skating ability, have played the game Kolven since the 1600's. It is played with a golf-like stick, a ball, and posts stuck in the ice for goals. Evidence of this game can be seen it in 17th century Dutch paintings. Emigrants from Holland who settled in New York City played the game in their new locale. Another hockey-like game played on both sides of the Atlantic was shinny. It was played on the frozen pans of North American and northern Europe (Scotland in...
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